The number of mobile telecommunication subscribers in Nigeria increased by 1.24 million to stand at 154.53 million in December 2016.
This is according to figures released by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Tuesday.
In its report, the NBS said that although growth in the telecommunications sector remained positive, year on year growth dropped in real terms from 1.5% in the previous quarter to 0.9%, the lowest rate since the Q3 of 2011.
“The total number of subscribers has increased rapidly over the past decade; at the end of 2005 there were 19,519,154 subscribers, but by the end of 2015 there were 151,017,244, which is equivalent to an increase of 13,149,809 every year.
“However, growth has been declining recently, possibly resulting from high market penetration leaving less room for large expansion.”
More for Airtel, less for Etisalat
“The largest quarterly increase recorded by any GSM provider was Airtel, whose subscriber base increased by 4.09%; from 32,775,916 to 34,116,409.
“By contrast, Etisalat recorded their largest quarterly decrease in subscriber numbers yet, of 7.65%, and were the only company to record a decrease in December.
“As a result, there were 20,809,889 Etisalat subscribers, compared with 22,534,800 at the end of the last quarter, losing 6.1% of its subscribers.
“MTN gained 588,704 subscribers, an increase of 0.96% year on year. The largest yearly increase in the number of subscribers however was Globacom, who recorded an increase of 4,358,459 subscribers, or 13.21%. This accounted for 80% of the total increase in GSM subscribers, despite MTN remaining the larger
Internet subscribers reduce
In 2016, internet subscription declined, making it the first time in three years that an appreciation in subscription wasn’t recorded.
“Of all active GSM lines, 59.61% had an internet subscription. This proportion increased in 2014 and 2015, but this trend reversed in 2016, in which year the proportion fell in every quarter. In December 2015, the proportion was 65.26%, and in September 2016 the proportion was 61.21%.
“Year on year, MTN and Etisalat recorded large declines in their internet subscriber numbers, of 20.47% and 9.46% respectively. Airtel recorded the largest increase, of 15.01%, followed by Globacom with an increase of 7.69%.”
Even less for CDMA
“In December 2016, at the end of the third quarter of 2016, there were 217,566 CDMA subscribers, which represents a decline of 21.26% relative to the end of the previous quarter.
“The number of CDMA subscribers fell from 2,148,727 in December 2015, to 217,566 in December 2016, a decline of 89.87%.”
Despite this decline in CDMA subscribers, the number of Multilinks subscribers did not change. It’s been at 4,460 since May 2016.
“The number of Visafone subscribers falling from 271,844 in September to 213,106 in December 2016, a decline of 21.61%. However, both providers recorded year on year falls, of 90.04% for Visafone and 47.08% for Multilinks.
“Despite the larger yearly fall recorded by Visafone, they remain the dominant CDMA provider. Their share was 97.95% in December 2016, slightly lower than the shares of 98.39% in September 2016 and of 99.61% in December 2015.”